Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency

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Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency

WILMINGTON, Mass. As expected, it was a comfortably quiet day first day of free agency for the Boston Bruins.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli officially re-signed two of his own players and locked up a Russian prospect for three years, but also said he wasnt moved to strike out on any of the 40-plus players inked to new deals by virtually every other NHL club.

The Bruins GM doesnt anticipate making any moves today, and said that depth signings will be the likely additions to a Bruins team thats loaded for the regular season at nearly every position.

We delved into a couple of things that never really got going anywhere. Im not going to say any positions specifically up front, but they were forwards, said Chiarelli. I dont anticipate anything happening today based on whats happened to this point.

Ive said this prior to going into today. Im not actively looking for anything. If something can improve our team then well look at it. Whether its the secondary market in free agency or the secondary market in trades, well continue to look at that stuff. But were not actively looking.

While there were some longer free-agent deals signed by players like Brandon Prust and P.A. Parenteau to the Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, respectively, there are still plenty of quality depth forwards on the free agent market. Some of the bigger names like Ray Whitney and Shane Doan wont be an option in Boston, but other potential third-line depth forwards like Jay McClement, Jason Arnott and Daniel Winnik could all be available should the Bruins strike in free agency.

But it appears Chiarelli is ready to move forward with 21-year-old Jordan Caron on the inside track for a starting left wing job with fellow youngsters like Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight ready to potentially battle for a spot in training camp. The Bs general manager originally hoped for a Recchi-type veteran to be added to the mix, but that may no longer be in the cards for the Black and Gold.

In past years weve had not too often but weve had one or two players that we actively wanted to add to our team. Wed go after them, and that applied to a guy like Michael Ryder. This year we didnt have a player there that we thought we could get right off the hop.

So that speaks to how I feel about our team. There are a couple of guys that you want to test the waters with, and check in with them. See what they want, see where they are and see what their plans are. Besides that weve had some meetings about some depth guys, but its been relatively quiet.

As the total of open spots dwindle for a large mass of free agents looking for NHL homes, there may be some intriguing possibilities for the Bruins. They could potentially upgrade from the kiddie corps currently earmarked for the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, or they may wait until they can move Tim Thomas' 5 million cap hit toward the end of the summer.

It sounds like the Bruins will be simply content to return with the 19 players that logged minutes and games with last years team, and instead hope for a better result than the first round playoff exit to the Washington Capitals.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing.